See Us

garrisonreddgarrisonredd Posts: 82Moderator Moderator
25 Awesomes 25 Likes 10 Comments First Answer
edited April 22 in Share your See Us story
My name is Garrison Redd and when I was initially paralyzed at 17 years old I never knew that a couple of years later I would have a bachelors degree in Finance become a Team USA para-powerlifter competing to go to the tokyo 2020 paralympics/ olympics, also Model, do a Tedx Talk, and become a symbol for perseverance. So for anybody that is newley injured or knows someone that was recently injured tell them that the sky is the limit. Also when one door closes another door will open. check out my instagram to learn more @garrisonredd


  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 134Moderator Moderator
    25 Likes 25 Awesomes 10 Comments First Answer
    edited April 24
    My name is Brooke Pagé, I am a caregiver and wife to Evan, who is a C4 Quadriplegic. 

    How do people see us? How do we want to be seen?

    When we are out and about, or with friends, we hope people see us as couple who lives life to the fullest, who absolutely are each other's rocks. A couple who always find a time and a place to crack a joke in good fun at the expense of the other, but who wouldn't have it any other way. 

    A couple who refuses to hide in the shadows or never be seen; A couple who adore one another for their quirks and unique qualities.

    People who love to try new things no matter what obstacles stand in our way:  food, wine, cooking and travelling are our shared passions

    We hope they see a pair of individuals who have come together based on shared interests and passions, who never want to stay in the same place very long for fear of missing out on LIVING; People who want to experience the world together and not be held back by any constraints 

    A couple who values freedom above all, and will customize our life how WE want it, not how anyone else thinks our life should be. We make it happen regardless of the people who tell is its impossible. 

    We hope that they see us as the couple who believes absolutely anything is possible, and if we aren't in a good place at any point in time, we will help one another reach our goals no matter what.

    "See us" for our strong shared morals, our similar sense of humour, our love of life, our ability to make the most out of any situation, and our belief that we can, together, do anything we want to do. 

    So next time I am "lap riding" on my husband's lap while he is cruising in his power chair to get us to a dinner reservation or wine tasting on time, and I get a look of "how cute" or "wow good on him" because people are not used to seeing it, I hope that they see us as something that is more than the girl sitting on the guy in the wheelchair, getting from point A to B. 

    - Brooke 

    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • CruckerCrucker Posts: 50Moderator Moderator
    25 Likes 10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Awesomes

    Hi, I'm Allen Rucker. I became a T-10/12 para in 1996 through a neuroimmune disorder called transverse myelitis, extremely rare (one to four in a million) and out of the blue. I am a professional writer and author or co-author of 13 books. One of those books is a memoir about paralysis -- "The Best Seat In The House, or How I Woke Up One Tuesday and Was Paralyzed for Life." I also write a bi-weekly blog for the foundation web site and speak and write a lot about disability.

    The longer you live with it, the less your paralysis will define your life. You'll develop resilience to whatever problems it presents as well as resilience to other adversities that might occur. You have more grit that you ever imagined and a life-altering trauma like paralysis will bring that out. It is not a test that you asked for, but it is a test and if you are reading this, you have passed it. Get up, get out, and enjoy your life to the fullest!

  • garrisonreddgarrisonredd Posts: 82Moderator Moderator
    25 Awesomes 25 Likes 10 Comments First Answer
    I love your words @Crucker keep motivating
  • CruckerCrucker Posts: 50Moderator Moderator
    25 Likes 10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Awesomes
    @garrisonredd, thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it. The Reeve people have given me a platform to share my thoughts -- a blog, ReeveConnect, this new SeeUs site, etc. I also write for other disability outlets, but this seems like home to me. Again, thanks for the encouragement. We all need it. AR
  • mjchiluttimjchilutti Posts: 1Member
    First Comment
    edited April 25


    My hope is that people see me as a busy successful guy making a difference in the world! Yes, my life changed in December of 1996 when 2 guys entered my jewelry store to rob me and shot me, and I began life as a T-5 complete paraplegic, but the only real thing that changed since then is that I use a wheelchair to get around. It didn't change my style as a goal driven individual who is always working to help make others lives a little better.

    I work at a great place, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, and get to help change and improve lives on a daily basis. Yes, like everyone else, I am tired at the end of the day, but there's still a lot of great years ahead for me to enjoy, so I'll keep doing this as long as I can.

    Thankfully, those who know me see me, and not the chair, and that makes life even better!

  • ColeandCharismaColeandCharisma Posts: 5Moderator Moderator
    5 Likes Photogenic Name Dropper First Comment
    My name is Cole Sydnor, I am 24 years old, and happily in a committed relationship with my girlfriend Charisma, who has always seen me for who I am, not what I am. I became a C5-C6 quadriplegic after I dove into shallow water and struck a rock just beneath the surface of the water on a summer day in 2011. I was 16 then, and, as many young men do, wrapped my entire identity around the boyish masculinity afforded to a teenager by an able body. It makes sense then that becoming disabled stole from me my identity; I could hardly see who I was anymore. Dating became non-existent in my life, for how can you expect others to see you when you can’t see yourself? Fortunately, I met a woman who is not bound by expectations, and despite not even knowing myself, she knew me, and has drawn that person out every day since we’ve been together. Now I see, too, and feel like a new man. We started a YouTube channel in the hopes that through others seeing us more will understand how powerful an interabled relationship can be. I hope that the world will see us wheelchair users for WHO is in the chair and not WHAT. To see that we are still funny, smart, courageous, athletic, and good looking! #reeveseesus
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 134Moderator Moderator
    25 Likes 25 Awesomes 10 Comments First Answer

    💥||SEE US||💥
    I made this collage for Dan while he was still in rehabilitation after he sustained a high grade, C3 & C5 Spinal Cord Injury- 3 years ago. I purposely placed each photograph that lines our first 3 years together (of us mostly sitting). What do I see now, when I walk past this collage hanging on our wall? I see US, just the way we are today. I see my best friend, a talented cook, a “dog-dad”, a critical thinker, a loyal and honest human being, an inspirational soul, full of life and laughter. Someone asked me the other day, if it was hard having Dan in a wheelchair? I said no, I don’t even notice that he’s in a wheelchair most days until he asks for me to get something down from the cupboard. Because I still just see the person I met almost 7 years ago. I hope this campaign resonates with some of you, we are so much more than an appearance. In a society fueled by first impressions and chasing the never ending ideal image, it’s easy to forget that we are SO much more than the things we buy, or have or use. We are HUMAN. We are all of the characteristics that define our soul. We have so much more to offer. Dig deep and unleash your inner potential and be SEEN for who you truly are. 

    Elena Pauly
    (WAGS of SCI)
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • aimeehofmannaimeehofmann Posts: 2Member
    First Comment

    In 2006, I was struck with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammation which paralyzed me at level T10 of the spine. A lot of things became uncertain including my future, “who” I was and life in general.  But I decided to spend the next 12.5 years going on with life and accomplishing things as I normally would have, even if I wasn’t in a wheelchair.  That includes having two kids and being the CEO of my household.  My family forgets that I have a disability because I wear so many hats 🎩and do absolutely everything (stay-at-home Moms out there, do you hear me?!?! 🙌😂)!!  I’m the family chauffeur 👩🏻‍✈️, the family 👩🏻‍🍳chef, the nurse that heals boo-boos 👩‍⚕️, the home 🏠organizer, the family planner 📆, the tutor 📓, the family cheerleader📣.  I’m the Wife of Prince Charming.  A Mother.  A Daughter.  A Sister.  A BFF to some really amazing women.  Swimmer 🏊‍♀️.  Advocate. Motivater.  Artist/painter👩🏻‍🎨.  Fashion/glamour lover💄👠.  First-time mono-skier.  The truth is, I’m still Aimee, the same person I always was, life is great and the future looks bright! #reeveseeus 

  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 112Moderator Moderator
    100 Comments 25 Awesomes 25 Likes Name Dropper
    #ReeveSeeUs My name is Zack Collie and I am 24 years old. I suffered a spinal cord injury in 2010 at the beach when I dove into a wave and hit a sandbar. For the past almost 9 years I have been confined to a wheelchair, but have NOT let it define who I am and hold me back from my ambitions. A big accomplishment that I achieved since 2019 is reaching 100,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel and that is just one of many. One thing I like to always tell people is that I am still the same “Zack” I was before my accident, but am now sitting down all of the time. I still love hanging out with friends, doing fun activities, be active, spending time with the people I care about and so much more. From when I was first injured there was hardly any awareness about spinal cords injuries and if you had one your life was over. My life has changed in so many ways and I found the women of my dreams who I want to spend the rest of my life with. She accepts me for who I am and looks past my chair. Meeting a girl and dating was one of my biggest fears and insecurities after my accident because it was such an uncommon thing to go through. I am grateful to be living in a time where spinal cord injury recognition is becoming more popular. There is a lot more to each and every one of US than our chair.  Life is NOT over after a spinal cord injury, it is a NEW beginning.

    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • Rebecca LamingRebecca Laming Posts: 2Administrator Reeve Staff
    First Comment Photogenic
    I have the honor of sharing this on behalf of Jennean Hinestrosa:

    My name is Jen, single, and 41 years old. Paralyzed with this spinal cord injury for 8 years. The car in the opposite lane hit a deer and it fell onto the windshield of my car. No memory about this devastating event and became a C-6 Quad (experiencing traumatic brain injury at the time of this sci).

    Forever grateful to my family for their love, support, and strong strength as well as my dear friends and dedicated aides whom some of us are not fortunate to have️ <3

    Feel a stepped-on feeling on my hands and no hand dexterity every day. Feeling an itchy head even after my shower days. Not bed bugs in my hair. :D Experience my stomach feeling full; however, I still have breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily just as everyone does. Having a healthy body is a step in the right direction  :)

    The chills sensation comes on me 24/7 especially at night in my hands, arms, and back. I use a blanket to keep me warm and comfy  :)

    I struggle to deal with my daily life activities which some able-bodied will take for granted. No one pictures living a paralyzed life after all; I did not think about that. Miss my privacy and independence! My legs no longer walk me into the bathroom and my hands have no longer have dexterity in the bathroom just to mention  :'(

    Everyone has their own struggles in life not just those who have a disability. Grateful, I have a powered-wheelchair which is literally my legs to provide mobility. Us disabled are all different with our abilities and secondary conditions we have.

    I need someone to help me with my toileting, body stretches and place electrode pads on my muscles to activate contractions in my legs (and then place electrode pads on my hands to relax the neuropathic pain in them). Love exercising 5 days a week using wrist weights and then ankle weights️  <3

    Someone needs to push me to the bathroom on my shower commode chair, shower me, give me my toothbrush so I can brush my teeth, give me a small cup with mouth wash, brush my hair (since I am unable to hold a brush in my hand), and squeeze hair gel (since I do not have dexterity/grip with my hands) on my hand so I can style my hair with my palm/ fingertips.

    Someone helping me dress, bring me my powered-wheelchair so I can transfer to it using a board, open my make-up for me so I can apply it with my fingertips/ palm (since I have no hand dexterity/grip), do my bed, help with my laundry, do my vacuuming/ dusting, serve/ make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and help me to bed at night.

    Feeling stressed about hearing talks about Medicaid being cut since having it is a medical necessity for me; sorry to admit. :'( It makes life accessible for us wheelchair users to thrive despite this new normal being a constant challenge which I know.

    Still doing my best every day to think through about how I can help and able to do during my daily life activities. I feel like an “Undercover Boss” (from that tv show ;) ) and want to help guide anyone who is helping me while seeing who they are as a human being️.  <3

    After all, we are all human and having a disability does not defy who we are. I love going out to dinner, to the movies, hair salon, to the beach, to NYC, Hershey Park, family get-togethers, friends get-togethers and to the stores.

    As a peer mentor, Thank you for starting this campaign, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation!! #ReeveSeeUs Unlock the misconceptions people have and unite us, wheelchair users, to share our heart and soul words about our daily lives’!!!!️️️️️️️️️️️️ <3  <3  <3  <3  <3  <3  <3  <3  <3  

  • hmenakerhmenaker Posts: 1Member
    First Comment
    I am a 67 year old man, paralyzed almost five years ago by a back surgery that went very badly.

    In those five years, I have discovered not only my own strength, but the strength of my husband, my friends and my family. I am making a remarkable recovery, thanks to my outstanding therapists and doctors, and thanks to those who love me. They have provided incredible support, and I would not be where I am without them. 

    Although I am learning to walk again, I spend much of my day in a wheelchair. But it does not define me. If you really see me, you will see an optimistic person who goes to the theater several times a week, is a news junkie, shares great meals with friends, and who volunteers for non-profit organizations. You will see a person on a spiritual path, exploring just what matters in this world, and how to be a better person it it

    You will see a man who is loved, and loves in return.

    What you will not see is a defeated, depressed, or resigned individual. I am determined to keep improving. Every day I express my gratitude for all the goods things in my life, and it makes all the difference in my attitude all day.

    I am proud to be member of a community that insists on being seen for our hearts and minds, not for our physical limitations.  See me. See us. 

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